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Statement by Ambassador Jürgen Schulz in the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform

08.05.2017 - Pressemitteilung

Thank you Co-Chairs,

Aligning myself with Brazil’s statement on behalf of the G4 yesterday and today, I would like to add the following remarks to our interactive discussion.

First, I would like to express my gratitude to you for revising the “Food for Thought” paper following our discussions at the IGN. The revised paper—with its clearer structure—is a step forward. It is a helpful contribution to the IGN in order to provide a condensed overview of the substance and current questions in addition to the Framework Document and the Elements Paper. Your approach reflects the key understanding that the IGN are a Member States–driven process. You also acknowledge the wishes of a vast majority of Member States which want the Co-Chairs to guide the IGN based on a text. We support your approach.

Second, I would like to underscore a few points in the Food for Thought paper which align with the comments presented by Brazil earlier:

If you list “principles” for reforming the Security Council, it is important to do so by referring to and quoting official GA decisions.

The Elements Paper produced as a result of the IGN in the 70th GA was unanimously endorsed by the GA. It should be reflected faithfully in the Food for Thought paper. The Elements Paper should be opened for further discussions only as a part of real, text-based negotiations. Doing so in the absence of negotiations might jeopardize the very trust in this process you are seeking to achieve.

Lastly, we will not achieve the improvements to the Security Council we seek by applying “ratios” of one category of seats on the Security Council to others. “Ratios” are only the end-result of negotiations; they have never been the starting point. The goal of Security Council reform is to balance the influence on the Council to better reflect today’s realities. Only new permanent members – elected by the General Assembly – as part of an expansion in both categories of seats will be in a position to see eye-to-eye with the P5.

Third, I would like to return to two, rather unsettling remarks I heard here yesterday and today.

Malta spoke about the G4 “self-appointing themselves as permanent members”. This is either a misunderstanding or a misrepresentation. Let me clarify: in the G4 model, new seats – permanent and non-permanent – will be elected by all Member States. Accordingly, new members of the Security Council will be accountable to all Member States. All Member States are eligible to run for permanent or non-permanent seats – and all are welcome to do so.

The distinguished representative of Spain, speaking as a UfC member as well, yesterday said the following after framing the UfC’s long-held position as a compromise proposal. I quote: “If others don’t compromise, Security Council reform will never be possible.”

To our ears, this sounded like a red line or a pre-condition. Dear colleagues, let us remind ourselves of the following:

For many years, a large majority of Member States has favored an expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats on the Security Council. And this fact has been officially recognized by previous IGN Chairs.

The UfC and its roughly one dozen members oppose such an expansion. Does one have to conclude from this that a large majority which outnumbers the opposition more than 10-to-1 should give in to wishes of a few? Does one have to conclude from this that the view of a large majority must yield to the minority position, before proper negotiations have even begun?

Furthermore, 164 Member States have requested text-based negotiations led by the IGN Co-Chairs. The UfC opposes such negotiations—that is unless the negotiations are based on their model and only if all models with expansion also in the permanent category of seats are discarded first. Should a small fraction holding this view be able to set such preconditions and block the 85% of UN Membership which support beginning text-based negotiations?


Every Member State is entitled to its position on Security Council reform, and all positions must be properly reflected in the IGN. It is equally true that every Member State is welcome to defend their position in text-based negotiations. We all understand that no party gets 100% of what they want in real give-and-take negotiations. Ultimately, we must all compromise in one way or another to arrive at a result in such negotiations.

But, there is no reason that a group of only a few Members States should be entitled to stand in the way of a clear majority. And there is no reason that a group of only a few Members States should be entitled to discard positions it doesn’t like as a precondition to begin real negotiations. It is up to you, Co-Chairs, to honor the wishes of 85% of the UN Membership. We look forward to your presenting a text for text-based negotiations as early as possible and before the end of this IGN session.

Thank you.

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